The right marketing strategies could be the difference between one company scaling up and another folding up.
By Ebube Okechukwu
Every business has the same goal – to sell its products and services. This is usually accomplished by strategic positioning of the business in front of its target audience, and offering solutions that meet their needs. However, small businesses have an even more peculiar case as they struggle to sell with limited resources and manpower to achieve their sales goals.
Marketing involves a concerted effort to push your brand across a variety of platforms and hope that enough makes it through to your customer. From email and social media campaigns, branding, services, promotions, products, pricing, prints, blogs, advertising and social media, these businesses are trying a variety of marketing options to push their brand. They are however faced with the constraints of finance to run a visible campaign as Heineken has done with its “Chairman” or as the Lagos state Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu did with his campaign. But, with the right mix of activities, SMEs can identify and focus on the most effective marketing tactics for them.
Here are a few effective ideas to get you thinking about all of the different ways you can promote your business.
Many product marketers make the mistake of “selling the product, not the experience.” Customers do not just want your product; they want a solution to their problem.
SMEs should talk about the benefits, features, and facts, at every opportunity for engagement. Tell a story, and the game changes. Product marketing becomes easy when you communicate your product’s value in memorable ways through storytelling.
- Go Social!
In today’s world using social media platforms for business is non-negotiable.
A large percentage of your consumers use social media for customer support, business enquiries and orders. If people can’t find your business via social media, they will certainly look the way of your competitors who are present on preferred social channels.
The question, however, is not on the use of social media but more on what channels, how much time and resources you should be investing in growing your social audiences.
For some businesses, it makes sense to invest heavily in social media growth.
For example, Instagram users that follow fashion and lifestyle influencers are looking to purchase new styles. By building an active, fashion-savvy audience, a fashion SME can build a network of customers.
For other businesses, Instagram may not be applicable.
The key is identifying where your customers are and what type of content appeals to them. Each social media platform is unique and requires different ways of engagement. Rather than try to master them all at once, choose a few that apply to your business and try to master those first.
- Claim Your Business
Taking control of your business listing online is one of the first things to do as a business owner with a physical business location. Google My Business (GMB) listing is one of the most powerful tools for this.
For every search on google.com example, if you search for “Lekki restaurant”. The search results show a variety of Google My Business listings before we even see the normal organic search results. If you can rank your GMB listing in the top 3, you can pull in a good number of leads daily without spending on ads.
Google My Business combines all your different Google platforms including your Google+ profile, Google Maps profile, your Google reviews, access to data on Google Analytics and Google Insights into one central place.
Having a listing gives your business credibility and visibility.
- Partnerships, Contests and Giveaways
As a small business with a limited marketing budget, it is important to work yourself into the customer base of other businesses through partnerships.
These partnerships can be in form of hosting joint events, referral rewards program, giving away products or desirable or fun items all of which can help you to gain goodwill, build brand awareness and connect with potential customers as there is an added credibility when another business recommends you.
- Engage Influencers
Influencer marketing has taken a new turn with the prevalence of social media and the growing power of peer recommendations. With proper research, SMEs can find the right influencer relevant to their industry and trustworthy to endorse their product — the right influencers can provide authentic endorsement within the target audience. If effective, influencer marketing is a cost-effective marketing technique for SMEs.
Marketing your business as an SME on a limited budget is completely possible. Be creative and stay visible!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.